Colombia: OAS condemns murder of Indigenous leader

An Organization of American States commission condemned Monday the shooting death last week of a Colombian indigenous leader and human rights proponent.

Luis Alfredo Socarras Pimienta, a Wayuu indigenous leader, dentist and human rights activist, was killed July 27 in the city of Riohacha. The city is located on Colombia’s northern Caribbean Sea coast.

“The information available indicates that the crime was committed by a hit man who shot him in the doorway of his house and then fled,” The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said in a release Monday.

Socarras Pimienta had led several demonstrations by the Wayuu people to protest in favor of better human rights and living conditions, the U.N. panel said. He also had run twice for the mayor’s office for the municipality of Manaure, somewhat akin to a county commission chairmanship in the United States.

The rights commission urged Colombian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and bring the responsible parties to justice.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is an autonomous panel created by the OAS. The commission consists of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country. They are elected by the OAS General Assembly.

The OAS, with headquarters in Washington, is comprised of 35 independent nations in the Western Hemisphere.

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